Wine Review: 2015 Cabernet Merlot, Black Opal

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With wildfires raging through California Wine Country as we speak, I think it’s a good thing that Australia and Chile produce some excellent California-alternatives.

This Black Opal Cabernet Merlot is from South Eastern Australia and it’s mighty fine.

Purchased to celebrate two special occasions, Black Opal does not disappoint.

Special Occasion #1: October 9th is the day that Xavier and I began our relationship, which was approximately 24 hours after meeting in person for the first time at a Tai Chi retreat in Oracle, Arizona. We’re so adorable it’s not even funny.img_0520_c

That was three years ago, now we’re an old married couple (well, he’s older – but not too old- and I keep telling myself that I look the same) in the process of buying a house, which is a thing that married people do. Still adorable though.

Special Occasion #2: I earned my first professional I.T. Certification on Sunday (which was October 8th – but close enough)

Since then, I have come down with a dreadful cold which raises the question: Can you mix wine with DayQuil? Is WineQuil a thing?

Joking, obviously.

Anyway, about the Black Opal. It’s $9.99, has a convenient (because I’m lazy) screw cap, and weighs in at 13.5% alcohol. It didn’t give me a headache but Xavier said it gave him a mild one.

Given a few minutes to breathe, this wine is blueberries and chocolate all night long; a smooth drinker that is all too easy to keep on drinking. Which reminds me, whenever the clerk at the liquor store asks if I want a receipt, I always reply, “Not unless you give free refills.” Needless to say, I never take the receipt and there is one less piece of trash on the floor of my car.

Xavier said it was good paired with chocolate and vanilla ice cream waffle cone. I gave it a whirl and thought the wine was better by itself. Prior to breaking out the ice cream, we had paired it with turkey chili, which was very nice.

I believe this is the second review in a row where the winemaker’s description reads “…and a touch of mint.” Clearly someone needs to spit out their gum cuz there ain’t no mint.

Not minty, but better because of it. Mighty fine adult grape juice.

Wine Review: 2012 Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, [yellow tail] Reserve

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[ yellow tail ] Reserve Cabernet Sauvigon.

By “Reserve” they mean it cost $8.99 instead of $7.99 so, you know, high rollers only.

While I’m not convinced that the extra dollar isn’t just spent on the fancy-pants label, this Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t bad. It’s definitely full-bodied with some upper-cut to the upper palate, gets ya with ole one-two if you know what I mean.

[ yellow tail ] reds are typically in your face, lacking volume control and the finesse of an indoor voice. It doesn’t make them bad, it just makes them bold.

Very woody with loud dark fruit. The label reads “… and a hint of mint”.  Apparently someone’s been chewing some super funky gum if they think this wine possesses a hint of mint which, clearly, it does not. But even if it did, “I like this wine because it’s refreshingly minty”, said no one ever.

14% alcohol and a touch of red wine headache.

Certainly not for sissies. Proceed with caution.

Wine Review: 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Fish Eye

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What can I say? I enjoyed the Fish Eye Merlot so much, I decided to try the Cabernet Sauvignon and, at $4.99, it’s not hardly a risky purchase.

Creamy dark fruit and a bit of pepper, it was terrific paired with pot roast. 13.5% alcohol and no red wine headache. Many wines in this price range are harsh and headache-inducing but this Cabernet Sauvignon is balanced and rich with a pleasantly smooth finish.

Compared to other wines in a similar price range, the Fish Eye wines that I have tried taste more expensive than they are. To be fair, I saw 750ml bottles of Fish Eye for $7.99 at a different store, it just happens to be on sale for $4.99 at the wine shop up the street from my apartment.

Still though, wines in this price range are usually not that great and the Fish Eye Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent value for the price.

I would choose to buy it again because it’s good, not because it’s cheap.

 

Wine Review: 2015 Merlot, Fish Eye

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I thought it would be worse….

Actually, I read some reviews saying that Fish Eye wine was pretty tasty and a good value for the price. Plus I’m a sucker for anything with a cute label.

Nonetheless, $4.99 is a very low price. So, you know, expectation management.

Truth be told, I liked it.

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This 2015 Merlot from Fish Eye was surprisingly nice. It’s a medium bodied, mellow semi-sweet red. Little bit of oak, little bit of plum, pleasantly smooth finish. Convenient screw cap saves a cork tree. 13.5% alcohol. No red wine headache. Xavier didn’t even get a headache from it and he is extra prone to them.

I paired it with a burger and calabacitas and since you probably don’t know what calabacitas is, let me fill you in.

Calabacitas is a southwestern dish featuring sauteed zucchini, onion, corn, GREEN CHILI, and cheese. It’s hella good with Fish Eye Merlot.

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Wine Review: 2016 Dark Red, 19 Crimes

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Xavier bought me a fantastic wine decanter and that is the best part of this review.

A wine decanter helps the wine to open up faster by exposing more of the surface area to oxygen. Aside from that, it looks cool.

Of course you then have to hurry up and drink it before it gets too oxidized, grows bacteria, and turns into an unsavory science project.

The Banished is 19 Crimes’ Dark Red Blend. Once again, no info on the bottle and I can’t get the website to work because, for some inexplicable reason, my computer will not allow me to check the box certifying that I am of legal drinking age.  No checky box, no loady website.

In any case, I can tell you that 19 Crimes is located in south eastern Australia and the wine in this bottle was indeed dark red.

I think it tasted alright but I kinda don’t remember because it gave me a red wine headache that lasted for two days.

Two. Days.

If you’re prone to red wine headaches, I recommend skipping this one.

Wine Review: 2016 Red Wine Blend, 19 Crimes

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The label is curiously devoid of any words to describe the contents and the website won’t load so your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what’s in the bottle.

It’s definitely wine and it’s definitely red.

So there you have it.

19 Crimes is from Australia, home of Shiraz, and so far as I can tell Shiraz seems to be the main ingredient in this blend. I’m guessing the other ingredient to be Cabernet Sauvignon but that is purely a guess.

According to Xavier it, “smells like a whole lotta wood in there”, and it does indeed.

Despite the lack of information, I really liked this wine. It had a unique flavor that I had not tasted before; jammy but not heavy with the oak falling in exactly the right part of the flavor spectrum. Additionally, it tastes exactly the way it smells so the sipping experience is a harmonious and happy one.

I would absolutely buy it again.

Wine Review: Big Bold Red, [yellow tail]

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Why do I never notice the lack of cork at the store?

I guess it’s one of my special skills.

Anyway, once again I found myself being concerned over the lack of vintage or cork but here’s the thing; expectation management.

Back in the late 1990’s I used to work as a wedding photographer at several “little chapels” on the Las Vegas Strip.

These places are notoriously cheap and fast. Double booked every 15 minutes, we cranked out weddings complete with flowers and photos for less than my car payment; a situation which necessarily lead to a good deal of conflict.

Why?

Because when people would call, the receptionist would explain the details of our services but conveniently fail to mention the 7.5 minutes part.

Then couples would arrive, expecting to be greeted by people who give a shit, and would promptly be rounded up with the rest of the cattle. Brides who had spent their girlhood dreaming of the day they could finally be a princess were butt hurt when fantasy didn’t match reality.

But here’s that thing again, expectation management.

It’s simple math is all. Real estate on the Strip is EXPENSIVE, employees are not volunteers and, as always, Vegas wasn’t built on winners.

Chapel weddings are cheap so they have to make up the difference in volume.

I mean, duh, right?

For a real wedding, where people act like they care and think you’re special, it’s going to cost more than the finance payment on a 1997 Honda Civic.

For a $6.99 bottle of wine, [yellow tail] Big Bold Red isn’t bad. It’s typical of the red blends. If I had paid $20 for the bottle, I may have been miffed, but it was $6.99 so I’ll say it was alright. In my opinion the oak was splintery making the flavor seem a little unbalanced but we still drank it.

If you want something that’s a step up, spend five more dollars.